How Long Does It Take for a Tan To Fade?

This is a subject that sunbed tanning fans have asked about repeatedly. Now, there is no definite answer, and the reason is this: people are different, and everyone has a different skin type. You can do several things to make your tan last longer, but it won’t last forever, so how long does it take for a tan to fade? 

A tan you get by sunbathing outside should last 7 to 10 days before your skin’s outer layer begins to fade naturally. On the other hand, spray tans can fade in a shorter time, even within a day or two, without proper care and can last up to ten days. Now, the lifespan of your tan is pretty much determined b the type of tan. It also depends on what type of skin and how often it regenerates. 

Read on to learn more about how long it takes for a tan to disappear and the many factors that influence its lifespan. We also included expert advice on making your tan lasts as long as possible, so let’s get right into it!

How Long Does It Take for a Tan To Fade?

how long does it take for a tan to fade

A Tan Usually Fades Anywhere Between 7 and 10 Days

Generally speaking, a tan will usually fade anywhere between 7 and 10 days. Still, it may take up to 30 days or more for a suntan to fully disappear, as your body naturally loses skin cells over time, so it replaces them with new ones.

Use a Tan Extender

So, why does a tan last so long sometimes? Proper exfoliating is one reason. Another is using a tan extender and moisturizing often. 

How Does Skin Regenerate

It all has to do with your skin’s layers and how often your skin regenerates itself. The “epidermis” is the skin’s outer layer. 

It creates a protective layer from dead skin cells, but when these skin cells grow older, they start to produce keratin. Keratin is a fibrous, waterproof substance that gives your body its cool features.

Claws, beaks, horns, hooves, shells, and scales are all examples of keratin in action for animals.

However, when your body produces new skin cells, the new ones push the old ones out and toward the surface, taking about four weeks.

It does not have a normal cellular structure. These surface cells will stay there for approximately 30 days or so.

You shed skin every month, which is just incredible. It is pretty much like a snake, but not to extremes.

So you’ll have to say goodbye to your tan after 30 days. However, you can do a few things to maintain and prolong its lifespan. But, first, it helps to know a little bit about tans and your skin structure.

What Is a Tan and How Does Tanning Work?

Human Skin Has an Effective Mechanism to Protect Itself

If you’ve ever studied the human body and what it’s capable of, you won’t be surprised to find that your skin has an effective mechanism to protect itself from the outside elements and damaging sun’s rays.

Melanocytes Produce Melanin

The basal layer of your skin usually has a few cells, and these are called melanocytes. The primary role of these is to make a pigment called melanin, which has a vital role.

Melanin Protects the Skin’s Nucleus Part

The main role of melanin is to protect the nucleus part of your skin. It’ll stay on top of the nucleus like your winter cap, which you’ll soon be dusting off from your closet.

It absorbs some of the harmful rays that usually cause DNA damage to your skin, but this doesn’t mean that you should no longer use sunscreen or something.

The sun’s rays are extremely powerful, so failing to protect your skin is both foolish and can sometimes be potentially fatal.

Melanocytes Also Contain Rhodopsin

Melanocytes also contain rhodopsin, a photosensitive protein, the same one that your eyes’ retinas use to detect light changes. These receptors enable the melanin synthesis to start considerably faster, which helps to protect your skin.

Having Dark Skin Means You Have More Active Melanocytes

If you are somebody with dark skin, you certainly have more active melanocytes that can produce more melanin than in white skin. Although black skin has roughly the same number of melanocytes as fair skin, it generates far more melanin and thus takes longer for a tan to fade.

However, those melanocytes still have nothing to do with the lifespan of your tan, regardless of skin tone. Because, as we said earlier, your skin naturally sheds as time goes by, so you lose your tan.

Maybe the light bulb just went off in your head. Aha! Certainly! The loss of your outer skin layer is the key. Is there a way to make it go faster? Yes!

How to Make a Tan Fade Faster

how long does it take for a tan to fade completely
Turmeric Mask

So, if you would like to know how to make your tan go away, follow the below tips:

1. Keep Your Distance from the Sun

Are you sick of your tan? Then keep your distance from the sun. Do not ever go out without enough protection, as this will only worsen.

Do you ride your bike or run outside? You should also protect your skin when participating in outdoor activities. It will protect you from skin problems. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or so to ensure you are fully protected.

If possible, avoid going out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The UV rays are at their peak at this time. 

Most people associate reflecting surfaces with water, but you should also consider the solar reflection from snow and ice on a bright winter day.

Sand and concrete can also reflect UV radiation, so those at the beach or by the pool should be aware of their surroundings and protect their skin from sun damage.

2. Soothe Your Tan Using Aloe Vera

There is probably nothing better in treating sunburns or any skin-related issue than pure aloe vera gel. It does, however, a lot more than just cool red-hot skin. This natural anti-inflammatory gel will help you diminish any pigmentation by inhibiting the release of melanin in the skin.

Just make sure to use 100% aloe vera gel as it helps soothe and soften our skin, and then fade it back to a lighter hue.

Aloe vera includes several chemicals that help to remove sunspots, discoloration, and other skin problems.

It absorbs pretty quickly and helps retain moisture, and the best thing about it is that it is not very oily or heavy after application.

3. Exfoliate Your Skin

Go for one that mixes natural pink salt with skin-loving ingredients like apple stem cell extract, aloe vera, sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, and grapeseed oil.

These components create a delicate solution that will nurture and flourish the top layer of your skin.

If you don’t mind investing time and combining the components, another option is to make it yourself at home. Whatever option you choose, you can rest assured that it will speed up the shedding and cell turnover process.

Remember that you should never exfoliate before going outside in the sun.

If you want to tan, exfoliate first and then apply a high SPF sunscreen every other hour to avoid skin damage.

4. Consider Using a Turmeric Mask

While there is no conclusive evidence, one study published by the National Library of Medicine found that turmeric can help protect you from UV damage. Turmeric can also increase skin hydration and speed up the generation of your skin’s natural oils.

It has one disadvantage, though, which is the stain. 

5. Give Black Tea Extract a Shot

Black tea extract is another natural technique to get rid of a tan faster. Because black tea is dark in color, it may stain, so again, make sure to wash your skin right away after each application. 

6. Skin Lightening Products

There are numerous skin-lightening products available nowadays. They’re trendy in Asia, where women regard lighter skin as more attractive and youthful.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, go for a product that contains vitamin C, glycolic acid, retinoids, azelaic acid, or kojic acid. These are compounds that can lighten dark spots and tans.

They achieve this by exfoliating gently and stimulating the creation of new skin cells. 

But keep in mind that little can be too much. You should never buy a product with too many powerful active chemicals in one go since this could create irritation or other issues.

You can irritate or damage your skin if you’re not careful. Overuse of skin-lightening products can have the opposite effect, which is the last thing you want.

Again, how long does it take for a tan to fade? If you got your tan through sunbathing, expect it to last 7 to 10 days. Then, your outer skin will exfoliate naturally. Meanwhile, a tan from a spray tan can fade after one day without proper care. With proper maintenance, though, it can last up to 10 days.

Can a Tan Last Forever? What Happens When a Tan Fades? 

Skin Sheds Every 24 Hours

Whatever you’re doing, be it studying, eating, sleeping, working, you name it, your skin is always hard at work, shedding away every 24 hours, which is astonishing. Now, get this: you lose about one million skin cells in one day.

Skin’s Outer Layer Sheds Every 28 to 30 Days

The skin’s outer layer sheds every 28 to 30 days, but those surface cells continue to flake off over time as new ones form below in the deeper layers of your skin.

What Is Apoptosis

Apoptosis is a fancy phrase for the process of skin cell death. The dead cells on your skin’s surface are largely protein and fat, and they help protect you from the environmental stresses you endure regularly.

It might be pollution, the sun, weather, or even a tanning bed, though we don’t recommend that you use one. This perfectly normal procedure happens to everyone and is there to keep us safe.

How Does the Skin Regenerate in Cold Weather?

The outer layer of your skin is a shell of its former self, and the protein and fat within it serve as a barrier. The cycle of renewal and shedding continues even in the colder months, but melanin production decreases.

As time passes, the strongly colored cells die off, and new ones emerge.

They seem lighter because they have less pigment, so your skin tone will be the lightest during the winter months.

But don’t think that because it’s winter, you’re safe from the sun’s rays. It can still be harmful to your skin, particularly if you’re out in the snow. Sure, most of your body has protection, but your face, eyes, ears, and neck are vulnerable.

Do you ever wonder what happens to the millions of skin cells you shed every 24 hours? Well, all you need to do is look at your surroundings. Examine your PC. Do you see some dust? How are your window sills doing?

Your dining room? Is there an entertainment center? Look around you for dust accumulation. Believe it or not, most of it is made up of your dead skin cells. How crazy this is!

So, if you happen to live with other people, it is probably a good idea to clean things up around you because, yes, it is their skin too! 

Factors That Influence How Long Will a Tan Last

how long will it take for a tan to fade

A study published by the National Library of Medicine found more than five different tanning methods that you can try. But, before you try any of these, you should be aware of the outside factors that can cause your tan to either fade more slowly or more quickly:

1. Age

Skin is the greatest organ in your body since it covers so much ground from head to toe. The human skin is made up of three layers.

The bottom layer is the subcutaneous layer, the middle layer is the dermis, and the top layer is the epidermis.

The epidermis is extremely thin and is made up of dead skin cells. 

Cell Regeneration Cycle for Middle-aged Adults, Children, Teens, and People in Their 20s

Like everything else in the body, the cell generation cycle slows down with age. It takes about 28 days for most middle-aged adults to finish the process.

The finest situation is for children. Little ones take three to five days, so their skin is beautiful, bouncy, and silky. It just takes 10 to 21 days in your teens.

You probably didn’t realize how vital skincare was at the time. If you’re in your 20s, you still have time to save and protect your skin from harm, and your tan will fade in 14 to 21 days.

2. Hormones

Sex Hormones Are Essential in Controlling Melanin Synthesis

Hormones play a role in the skin’s life cycle as well. According to one study, the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are essential for controlling your body’s melanin synthesis.

Researchers conducted a fascinating experiment there as they created a 3D duplicate of human skin structure.

More Estrogen Means More Melanin Production

They found out that the more estrogen these cells experienced, the more melanin they later produced. They produced roughly 300% more melanin in just a few days than before the melanin exposure.

Experts also tested progesterone. Progestin, the synthetic counterpart of this hormone, is found in birth control tablets. The cells produced less melanin during this experiment.

Essentially, this discovery could pave the way for treatments for skin disorders such as vitiligo. Because the melanocytes in the skin are destroyed, the skin loses its pigment.

Opens the Possibility of Developing Non-toxic and Risk-free Cosmetics to Change Skin Tone

It also opens the possibility of developing non-toxic and risk-free cosmetics to change skin tone. To achieve a tan without UV exposure or make skin appear fairer without bleaching, for example. Isn’t science incredible?

3. Sun Exposure

Ok, you put on sunscreen, go to the pool or beach, and set up camp. The calming sun is wonderful. You take out a book or a magazine and begin to read. The tranquillity draws you in, and before you realize it, you’ve fallen asleep. Voila! You’ve turned lobster red.

UV Rays Have the Potential to Harm or Kill Your Skin Cells

We have all been there one way or another. Those damaging UV rays will penetrate deep into your skin when you get too much sun. This is problematic since they have the potential to harm or kill your skin cells.

While one sunburn is unlikely to ruin your life, you must take extreme caution to avoid it in the future. The more sunburns you experience during your life, the worse your skin will become.

It’s so easy to laugh it off in your youth, especially when you peel and your skin looks fine.

But rest assured that sun damage from your childhood will haunt you later in life.

Do Not Go Out Without SPF Protection

Never go out in the sun without SPF protection, and reapply every two hours. When you arrive at your 20-year reunion and everyone looks old except you, you’ll congratulate your younger self.

Conclusion – The Lifespan of Tans

When you get a tan from a simple sunbathing outside, it should last 7 to 10 days before your skin’s outer layer starts to exfoliate naturally. Spray tans, however, are a different story. They fade in a shorter time frame and last up to 10 days if not properly cared for. 

A tan will usually last for 2 to 4 weeks unless you maintain sun exposure.

Remember that wearing sunscreen is an absolute must when you go outside with sensitive skin.

If you got a tan and want it to fade as quickly as possible, exfoliating is probably the quickest way. Above all, be patient, and your tan, like the days of summer, will fade away shortly.

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